"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them".
Arthur Fletcher Ada was born in Maidenhead in 1882 to John Fletcher Ada a draper, and his wife Mary Ann East.
Arthur first appears on the 1891 Census aged 8 living with his parents and his elder siblings, Mary, John and William, at 6 Queen Street.
In 1901 Arthur is working at as a draper's assistant at at large department store, 12-17 St Andrew's street in Cambridge.
In 1911 Arthur is back in Maidenhead and running his own drapery business from 11 Queen street in Maidenhead.
After the outbreak of Wolrd War I, Arthur enlisted in the Royal Navy in the September 1916. Arthur became a Stoker First Class on the H.M.S Phoebe and unfortunately lost his life due to enemy action during the Raid of Zeebrugge.
Arthur was considered a hero by those he left behind in Maidenhead, which his obituary in published in the Maidenhead Advertiser leaves us in no doubt.
"A Maidenhead Hero
Public Honours for Stoker A. F. Ada
Great victories are not bought without a price, and Maidenhead has paid its tragic toll for the thrilling Nelson-like triumph at Zeebrugge. Mingled with last week's joy were the tears of bereavement at losing in that memorable enterprise one of our best-known and best-loved younger tradesmen - a man who belonged to a family that has for three generations been respected for their zeal in the religious, social and commercial life of the town. Mr Arthur Fletcher Ada, content to serve as a humble stoker in the Navy when he saw the beacon-call of duty,has laid down his life at the young age of 35, finding glory in the commonplace and forfeiting by the cruel irony of fate, perhaps by months only, the grand climacteris of domestic joy which most men reach. The public honours done our latest local hero were commensurate with his personal worth as with his unshrinking patriotism. He surely died doubly nobly; for it was when his watch below was done he went aloft to do merciful work in tending wounded mates, and while at that task he was struck by a shell and died very soon after.
Arthur Fletcher Ada was the third son of the late Mr John Ada, of the firm of Ada & Co., drapers, Queen-street, established many years ago. He was educated at Maidenhead Modern School. As a young man he succeeded to the business and worked at it in conjunction with his brother-in-law (Mr Leach) as partner. His prowess as a swimmer was well known all around this district, for he carried off many prizes in the swimming carnivals in the old days. In religious circles he was prominent as financial secretary to the Baptist Church in Marlow Road, and further as the organist there for about 12 years. In recent times he took a big share in forming the V.T.C., of which he became an active member.
He joined H.M. Navy in September 1916, and proceeded to his training at Chatham and other naval stations. He became attached to H.M.S. Phoebe as stoker. When he was home last, only a fortnight ago last Monday, he was aware of some great naval move being imminent, but his friends little thought they had seen him for the last time. The Destroyer on which he was serving was covering the "Vindictive", and towards the end of the engagement he had just left his watch below and had gone on deck to help in rescuing the survivors of one other of our Destroyers which had gone down. It was early on the morning of St. George's Day, April 23rd, when our brave fellow townsman was doing this extra duty at rescuing that he was struck by an enemy shell and expired almost immediately.
Petty-Officer Attridge was sent to apprise the family of the details of Mr Ada's death, and he also brought with him the verbal sympathy of the captain, officers and mess of the Destroyer, as well as three wreaths to be placed over the remains, Mrs. Ada having desired that the body might be sent home for burial.
The sympathy with deceased relatives and his betrothed, Miss Jessie Bloomfield, is very deep and widespread, and was given expression to at the funeral on Monday, and by shoals of lettes received."
A further report was made on the funeral -
"The funeral took place on Monday afternoon, and was a public tribute to the quiet esteem in which the deceased was held by all classes. Most of the tradesmen's shops had black boards, and blinds were generally drawn. Opposite the Baptist Church, the V.A.D. Red Cross flag was drooping at half mast. A squad of the Maidenhead Volunteers, under Lieut. Voules, formed the guard of honour. The coffin, which was covered with the Union Jack and many lovely wreaths, was carried on the shoulders of half-a-dozen local bluejackets under chief petty officer A. Emberley, viz., petty officer, 1st class, Riches; leading seaman Carter (wounded from East Africa); leading stoker Maybury; and an air mechanic Royal Naval Air Arm, and an A.B. Both the latter were on leave and volunteered to act as bearers. The undertakers were Messrs Partlo Bros., friends of the deceased.
On the rostrum were the Pastor (Rev. T. Wreford Way) and Rev. T.F.Lewis, of the Congregational Church; and among the crowded congregation were the Mayor (Mr C.W.Cox, J.P., C.C.), who also attended at the graveside, and Ald. Truscott, J.P., and Councillor O.T. Chamberlain, J.P. The chief mourners were: Mrs Ada (mother), Mr John E. Ada (brother), Mr F.W.Leach and Mrs Leach (brother-in-law and sister), Mr Richardson (uncle), Miss Ada (sister), Mr S. East (uncle), Mrs Sutton (cousin), Mr W. V. Bloomfield and Mr A.G Bloomfield.
Wreaths and other floral tokens of sympathy were sent by the following:- >From his own Jess; mother, brothers and sisters; Mr and Mrs Bloomfield, Rosa and Alfred; Lance-Corpl. Edmund Bloomfield; The Staff at 11, Queen Street; The Marlow Road Baptist Choir and Church; Mrs Eadres, 36, Town Wall Street, Dover; T.W.Naller and R. Coates, HMS Phoebe; from Messmates of HMS Phoebe; from Frank Trevoe; Members of 1st Berks Volunteer Regt,"C" Co., Maidenhead; Maidenhead Fire Brigade; Mr and Mrs H. Andrews and Mrs Goodman; Mr and Mrs. J. W. Goldsmith and Winnie; Mr and Mrs Reeves; Mr and Mrs Harold H Neve; Mr and Mtrs Hunt; Mr and Mrs John Tomlinson, and Frank."
Arthur was like so many brave men that left their family and loved ones to fight, and never came back alive.